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Soon after the election, the Treasury Department will give President Bush its ideas for rewriting the tax code. Depending upon the political climate, the administration could push for sweeping changes that would leave the tax code almost unrecognizable.

Call me a cynical crank (many have), but I've just been to this rodeo too many times to believe a word of it. Wait, I overstate. I do believe the part about leaving the Code unrecognizable. Not simpler, just unrecognizable.

As is my wont, I lay primary blame on The Best Congress Money Can Buy, but we are the true culprits. "We should go to a flat tax, except for [the tax breaks near and dear to the speaker]" is one popular approach that you see a lot of whenever tax reform is proposed.

TRA '86 made such sweeping changes that we went from the "Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended" to the "Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended." For a wonderful look at the process of writing that bill, take a gander at Showdown at Gucci Gulch, which makes The Jungle look like a day at the beach.

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